Ryan McGinness Works
8.5 inches by 11 inches, 296 pages, case bound
Ryan McGinness is an artist who also designs a lot of books (his book Flatness is God, was one our first graphic design books) so to work with him on his monograph for Rizzoli was a great experience. The book got around some of the typical monograph traps while taking advantage of the format in interesting ways.
Most importantly, it combines process images and explanation in a way that doesn't fetishize the "personality in the studio" while explaining how things really get done. The book also contains some essays and interviews that give a glimpse to the larger project Ryan is engaged in having to do with icons, imagery, pop culture, communication and the subject's formation through these systems. Especially cool is the Q&A 500 with Tom Greenwood. And then there are some things that just elude classification like the footnotes that Ryan wrote throughout the book which expand, redirect or otherwise distract from/inform the book's central narrative.
It's difficult for a monograph to strike a balance between ends and means, but this one does it pretty well.